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TOMATO BITES by Morning Star - August 2, 2023 Release

04/08/2023 - Madeleine Royère-Koonings , Press release - 2023 Season
Morning Star colleague Aaron Giampietro is back with another TOMATO BITES by Morning Star update. This release focuses on promising yields and future plans for California Processing Tomatoes.
"Our San Joaquin Valley season began approximately two weeks ago at Liberty Packing, followed by the Lost Panels plant, one week later. In the first two weeks of harvest, we have noticed field yields coming in 7.5% higher than the average for the same period between 2018 to 2022. So far, we are pleased to report that tomato color, brix, pH and viscosity are all meeting or exceeding our target specifications. Tomato transplants have grown vigorously despite experiencing an average temperature, from March to June, that was approximately one degree Fahrenheit below the state 100 year average. The high temperatures in July advanced crop maturity, which in turn helped start the harvest earlier. This along with higher field yields mitigated the effects of the late start cause by late spring transplanting.

As we move forward with the crop well underway and our Sacramento Valley operations scheduled to start in less than a week, we want to highlight three major areas to watch over the next few months.

First, the July heat wave that helped accelerate the crop's growth may have effects later in the harvest. Depending on the stage of maturity during the next heat wave, fruit yield may be lower, as well as stressing color to a more orange hue. While we highlight these risks based on past observations, we must be mindful of the potential risks for future heat waves or early rains, as our season is expected to run through to the end of October.

Second, our recent study of Nielsen IQ Data and observations from the CLFP stock on hand report from June 30th indicate that consumption's facing headwinds. In the retail sector. CPG companies have noticed revenue growth from higher prices, but unit sales have softened. This trend is even more significant in the organic tomato product market where consumers are reducing purchases or switching to private label options and considering conventional goods instead of organic. Turning to food away from home, there are still 80,000 fewer food service workers employed than pre-pandemic levels, and the pace of wage growth for these jobs is slowing. This may be an adaptation to softer consumer demand and structural changes from efficiency investments and partnerships with delivery aggregators.

Third, favorable water conditions and shifting crop dynamics could continue to drive tomato acreage expansion next season. In the San Joaquin Valley, surplus feed supplies in the struggling dairy industry are driving down forage crop prices. …/…

These 3 points illustrate our long-term vision and strategy for 2024 and beyond. While our teams are currently focused on the harvest and processing, they are also concurrently planning for the 2024 crop cycle. Our commitment to the long-term sustainability of California tomato processing for all stakeholders, including tomato growers and ingredient users, underlines our ongoing investment in innovation, research and development and processing capacity. We welcome our growers and customer partners as well as any new prospects to joining this conversation and collaborate with us. Together we can develop cost-effective and value added outcomes…./… ''

To access the video, click here.
Sources: Morning Star

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